All Quiet on the Western Front Film Essay - Baker 1 John J Baker HIST 202 Professor Wilhelm 7 November 2014 The Paradox of War A Study of Milestones All

All Quiet on the Western Front Film Essay - Baker 1 John J...

This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 6 pages.

Baker - 1 John J Baker HIST 202 Professor Wilhelm 7 November 2014 The Paradox of War: A Study of Milestone’s All Quiet on The Western Front Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front , a film adaption of the famous novel by Erich Maria Remarque, presents World War I in a different view than most war stories at the time. Typically, soldiers going off to war are seen as brave, heroic, courageous, etc. Milestone sought to disprove these ideals by portraying WWI in a more stoic and melancholy light. He bases his narration off of Paul Bäumer’s, written by Remarque. Both the direction and narration of All Quiet on the Western Front by Lewis Milestone help highlight the film’s main themes of the contrast between the perception and reality of war, the detrimental effects that the war has on the soldiers that fight in it, and the futility of war as a whole. The use of contrasts in All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the major ways in which Milestone expresses the film’s themes. There are plenty that exist when comparing the beginning of the film to the end. For example, at the beginning of the movie, the boys are ecstatic about the idea of enlisting in the army and going off to fight in World War I. Their teacher exclaims that fighting the war would bring great glory to the young boys, stating how “sweet and fitting it is to die for the Fatherland.” In addition to the teacher’s words, the first scene of the film depicts a parade of soldiers marching down a German street as they celebrate the fact that they were going to battle. This idea of patriotism was deeply embedded into the German culture at the time. The contrast is evident when the boys actually go off to battle, where it is not what they expect at all. By the end of the film, as Paul returns to his hometown, it is apparent that the war has greatly affected his
Baker - 2 preconceived notion of war being glorious. When asked to tell about the heroics of war by his old teacher, Paul simply states that it is “dirty and painful to die for your country.” Clearly this isn’t what Paul was originally taught, as the teacher was taken aback by such a response. Milestone makes a point of focusing on the young schoolboys and their reaction to Paul’s words, exemplifying the kind of “brainwashing” that they undergo. The boys call Paul a coward, as they are taught to believe, even though they know nothing about what he has gone through. Along the lines of the first example, Milestone also uses

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture